Susan Johnson always dreamed of volunteering abroad. In May, her wish came true when she flew to Rwanda to work at a vocational institute for low-income women. Although she will be away for four months, she'll receive her full salary from Seventh Generation, a manufacturer of recycled and nontoxic household products.
"I wouldn't be able to afford this if I wasn't being paid," says Johnson, 60, the director of education in the company's sales department.
The sabbatical program is one of many benefits offered by the firm. Employees' health-care premiums are 100% covered -- as are their dependents' premiums after five years with the firm. Seventh Generation also lends employees up to $5,000 to make their homes or cars greener.
The company spends about $3 million annually on such benefits. "We get commitment and passion, which increase productivity," says CEO Jeffrey Hollender.